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the whisperer of the dead

As expected, it was a period of prosperity and flourishing for those communicating with the dead. William Roy, the Englishman, was probably the most successful and talented medium of all - until later he 'repented' and explained how he performed his tricks, causing the collapse of the 'industry'
Roy's charlatan devices, which are still housed in the Scotland Yard Museum.

World War II claimed many victims. Tens of millions of people mourned the loss of their loved ones. If only they could say goodbye, if only they could know that their loved ones continue to exist in other dimensions, if only they could hear that they are doing well, there, in the world beyond.

As expected, it was a period of prosperity and flourishing for those communicating with the dead. The English William Roy was probably the most successful and talented medium of all.

The amazing sessions

William_Roy_1 Amazing things would happen during Roy's séances. The participants would feel gusts of cold air, smell surprising smells and strange sensations surrounded them. Objects that were painted in phosphorescent paint would rise by themselves and float in the space of the room. Some of those present swore they saw Roy's "spiritual companions" materialize during the séance before their eyes.

But the highlight of the séances was undoubtedly the realization of the voices of the dead, which were clearly heard in the room. Those present recognized the voices of their friends and relatives, as they gave them details that no stranger could have guessed. Sometimes two or even three voices of spirits would be heard at the same time.

Many doctors, researchers and skeptics examined Roy but could not find anything that would indicate cheating.

The band-aid - once they tied his hands to a chair, put a band-aid on his mouth, but the voices of the spirits continued to be heard!

The microphone - another time one of the investigators attached a microphone to Roy's throat. "Every whisper or vibration in the throat will be picked up by the microphone, amplified and played through the speakers," explained the researcher. Roy's hands were tied to the chair, but despite everything, the voices of the spirits continued to play in the séance without the microphone picking up any vibration from his throat!

The dyed water - another attempt to knock Roy down came from a séance researcher who claimed to know all the tricks of the "profession". He asked Roy to fill his mouth with colored water to ensure that he could not get any speech out of his throat without spilling the water or swallowing it. During the séance, clear voices were heard, and at the end, when the light was turned on, Roy spat out the dyed water from his mouth without losing a drop.

Roy was the only medium who agreed to conduct a séance even in full light. Even then, voices of speech were heard coming from his direction, but not from his mouth!

William Roy was a very talented guy, no doubt about that. He enjoys the support and sympathy of all those happy customers whose loved ones have been brought back, if only for a moment, from the world of the dead. He made only one serious mistake: he quarreled with his assistant.

One day, in 1952, a man arrived at the office of the editor of the newspaper "Psychic News" (the leading spiritualist newspaper in London at the time) and placed a large suitcase in front of him. When he opened it we discovered an impressive collection of electronic accessories: a microphone, an amplifier, headphones, a tiny speaker, a pair of shoes with copper plates on their soles and a telescopic pole that looked like a large radio antenna. "I am William Roy's assistant," announced the guest, "and this is the complete kit he intended to install in his new home." It should be used for communication between Roy, in the séance room, and me, in the adjacent room."

Roy begged not to publish the matter and promised that he would move to South Africa and stop conducting séances. He did move to South Africa, but after a short time he was discovered again in England, conversing with the dead (more precisely with the living in the next room). Since he broke his promise, the patience of one of the journalists ran out and in 1955 he published an article exposing Roy as a fraud, and warning potential clients against him.

The response was not long in coming. First, the journalist was whipped by Roy's wife, who ambushed him on the way out of the editorial building. Roy chose less romantic ways to fight and sued the journalist for libel. The legal proceedings silenced the media. Only about three years later, in 1958, did Roy drop the lawsuit and agree to pay the court costs. Immediately afterwards, the newspaper published all the evidence of his fraudulent acts. At first Roy tried to continue to deny the allegations, but when another tabloid (Sunday Pictorial) offered him a substantial sum of money, he was happy to give them a detailed confession.

At the beginning of his words, Roy said that he was afraid that his confession would shock and hurt the 100,000 or more people who participated in the séances he held. "My victims were grief-stricken people who believed I could connect them with the spirits of their loved ones from the other world... Of course I'm impersonating. So are other mediums. It's true that I cheated women in séances, but I didn't cause any harm." To be sure, the grieving women whom Roy Rima had brought him considerable benefit. Roy amassed £50,000, luxury cars and many other luxuries through a decade of spiritualist quackery.
The secrets are revealed
A warm read

In the blog, we engaged quite a bit in "cold reading" - a collection of "tricks" for extracting information from the client without him being aware of it, and repeating the same information in such a way that it looks as if the "consultant" reached him in supernatural ways. A warm reading is a term for gathering information about the participants before the session begins. How did they do it before the age of Google?

First of all, only participants who registered long in advance were allowed to enter the seance. Roy would open a personal card for each of the participants in which he would store information from various sources: in the National Registry Office one could find birth, marriage and death records as well as the names of the parents and the parents' parents, in the newspapers one could find obituaries and details of wills, etc. Furthermore, Roy confessed - "We, the impersonating psychics, used to trade information among ourselves, like exchanging stamps."

Upon arriving at the séance, the participants would undergo another investigation, without their knowledge of course. They were asked to leave their coats, purses, suitcases and other belongings in the dressing room "so that they will not be messed with during the session, and disturb the atmosphere". As soon as they moved into the waiting room, Roy's assistant would rummage through their belongings and extract information from letters, notebooks, diaries, cards, receipts, etc.

Hidden microphones were installed in the waiting room that picked up the guests' conversations, conversations that often provided important details about them and their expectations of what was about to happen.
Tinka the Red Indian

The 12 participants would gather together in the séance room, and wait in the dark. Classical music was played in the background to put everyone in the right mood.

Roy would start breathing heavily and speaking in the voice of one of his "spiritual companions". There were several constant companions, but his favorite was Tinka the Red Indian. Tinka was a very useful companion for Roy - when the questions of those present became too difficult, Tinka would solve the problem with the sentence: "No can answer—me just simple Indian" ("No can answer—me just simple Indian").

An amusing development regarding that Tinka came from a "spiritualist artist" who painted his image as he saw it in his spiritual visions. When Roy admitted that Tinka was a character he invented as part of his charlatan mask, the artist insisted: "Roy may be a charlatan, but the paintings of the spiritual companion Tinka are real. I drew them from my own experiences. He once warned me that Roy was an imposter"...
Technological tricks

Roy acquired the basic professional training with the help of a book published in America in 1907 (Behind the Scenes With the Mediums), a book that revealed all the tricks that mediums had used decades earlier. In addition, Roy seasoned his performances with accessories from the forefront of technology (of the XNUMXs) to create effects of ghost voices, music and mysterious lights during the sessions he held.

the magic stick The first important device used by Roy was a telescopic pole with which he swung objects in the space of the room. The room was in complete darkness, the objects themselves were decorated with phosphorescent paint stripes, and all those present could see was an object rising and sailing through the air.

The phone friend. Another important accessory was a small earpiece that Roy would pull out of his pocket and put in his ear under the cover of darkness. His assistant was sitting in the next room, reading into a microphone the details of the information he gathered about the guests during the search he made of their belongings. The electrical connection between the rooms was disguised as a normal electrical outlet in the wall.

Dead talk. Some of the voices were Roy making from his throat. Other sounds (produced by his partner in the next room) would emanate from a small speaker attached to the end of a telescopic pole. Additional voices were played from time to time by tape. A combination of several voices at the same time and control of the direction from which they were heard (by moving the telescopic rod with the speaker at the end) created an effect that stunned those present.

to pull votes from the sleeve. Producing ghost voices in full light was an even more sophisticated task, and Roy was probably the only medium who dared to do so. For this, it was necessary to completely mask the electrical wires that connected the rooms (between the microphone from which the partner spoke and the headset from which the sounds emanated). To do this, Roy ran the wires under the carpet. Two metal contacts stuck out of the carpet like two nail heads. On the soles of his shoes he glued copper plates, to which wires were attached from the inside of the shoe. The wires were threaded under his clothes, up to the end of the sleeve, where the headset is placed. When Roy would place his shoes on the contacts sticking out of the carpet, the electrical circuit would close, and the partner's voices would emanate from his sleeve.
Roy explains

There is no sight. From time to time Roy would spice up the séance with visual effects. For this purpose, he would take out of his mouth thin fabrics, called "ectoplasm" in the "professional" jargon. He also made use of scary masks, or asked his partner to enter the room through some hidden door, while wearing a white sheet. In this way Tinka the Red Indian was seen several times, when he was transformed to a height of over two meters!
Combining effects

The following case demonstrates how easy it is for a talented charlatan like Roy to concoct simple pieces of information found on his way into a stunning experience.

During the séance, his partner informed him (through the microphone) that one of the attendees, Susan Shema, had composed songs and some of them were performed at a prestigious concert in Cambridge." The address of her previous residence was also known. Roy remembered that when she arrived he asked her if she believed in spiritualism and she said she didn't, but her mother did. From this he learned that his mother was dead.

During the séance, Roy said: "There is a spirit here who wants to talk to her daughter - Susan." Roy dropped the trumpet from the pole so that it fell on the floor, and in the voice of the "guide" he said: "The spirit is very weak and has difficulty communicating. She says it's hard for her to reach you since you left Cambridge." He mentioned the name of the street where Susan lived and added that her mother was very proud to see her songs performed by famous singers.
"It had a huge impact," concludes Roy. "All of this was made possible thanks to a few lines from a letter that was forgotten in an embezzlement pocket."
How did he overcome the researchers?

Below is the solution to the "technological puzzles" we met earlier.

How did he produce sounds with his hands tied and his mouth blocked with a plaster? very simple. Under the cover of darkness it was not difficult to bend towards one of his palms, partially remove the plaster, make noises and finally not forget to put it back before the lights were turned on.

How did he manage to produce sounds without the microphone attached to his throat picking up the vibrations? Roy noticed that the wire that was connected to the microphone went between his legs. Although his hands were tied, he had no trouble grabbing the wire with his knees and moving it a few inches to the side as he got the words out of his throat. At the end of the session he let go of the cord and the microphone returned to its place, the light was turned on and the researchers were left at a loss.

How did he make sounds when his mouth was full of colored water? In this case, Roy had a few days to reply if he was ready for inspection. That was the amount of time he needed to prepare the following simple trick: he hid a small bag on the inside of his jacket, with a rubber straw sticking out of it. When the room was darkened he spat the colored water through the straw into the same bag, and after finishing his exploits, sucked the water back into his mouth. The light was turned on and the researchers remained dumbfounded.

The simple tricks with which he succeeded in the investigations of the "experts", testify not only to his great resourcefulness, but undoubtedly also to the poor level of the investigators.

Roy sealed his confession with the following sentence: "Even after I made this confession, I know that I can fill séance rooms again with people who will find comfort in the belief that I am real."

Roy demonstrates his action techniques
Roy demonstrates his action techniques
Accessories used by mediums: fabrics, dolls, masks, etc. (Wikipedia)
Accessories used by mediums: fabrics, dolls, masks, etc. (Wikipedia)

The women in his life

To provide a more complete picture of the rogue's character, I will add some juicy details about his private life. I will do this very succinctly, therefore, read slowly and carefully:

Already at the age of 17 he married Mary Castle, who owned a night club in the Soho district of London. She was the first of many women to fall victim to his fiction.

One of the most disgraceful affairs in which he was involved was the exploitation of a widow who came to the séances he conducted. At the same time as "raising" her late husband, Roy seduced her, promising that he intended to marry her as soon as possible. During a séance meeting with another medium (who cooperated with Roy in the matter), a message was conveyed to the widow in love that she must pay 15,000 pounds to Roy's second wife - Dorothy, in order to convince her to divorce him. Roy was "surprised" to hear the happy news, and to give official validity to the words, he brought the widow a letter written by Dorothy and signed by a lawyer, in which she expresses her consent to divorce in exchange for the sum of money in question. The widow transferred the money to Roy's bank account, and the two went on their honeymoon. What the widow didn't know, was that the letter was fake.

Shortly afterwards, Dorothy committed suicide (by gas poisoning). Only 3 weeks passed, and Roy got married on the third. Not with the widow, of course, but with a 17-year-old girl (Rose Halligan), whom he abandoned in 1956.

11 years later, without being officially divorced, he married Ann Clements.

Roy had three children from his various relationships.


10 years have passed since Roy's confession, and here appeared in England a psychic named Bill Silver, who performed feats remarkably similar to Roy's. It was again a journalist who revealed the truth - Bill Silver was none other than William Roy!

Some of the participants in the séances knew him, but were still convinced of the truth of the events. This time, Roy distanced and contacted entities from the planet Venus... In this "season" of the séances, members of the Beatles also participated. In response to this revelation, Roy said: "I want to forget the past. My public admission that I cheated was a pile of lies. I said it for the money." Blessed is the believer.

William Roy, or rather William George Holroyd Plowright, died in 1977 of cancer. He was 66 years old when he died. The newspaper Psychic News noted his death in the following words: "In all the long history of spiritualism no greater villain has arisen. He is now in a world where he cannot cheat."

I wouldn't even count on that...

Sources and extensions:


22 תגובות

  1. Nissim, I'm sharing with you a bit what happens in time reversals, you can talk to people who have died, and revive them a bit, and this also belongs to the physical part of time reversals, you say "offer a million", maybe reviving is worth more?

  2. Water blowing
    It's nice that you return the movies to Blockbuster on time .... it's just a shame that you don't lend books from the library instead..

  3. Blowing water:
    As part of the time refunds, can you give us back the time you waste on us?

  4. From my experience in time reversals, one can say in a parallel world black, and one white, and this can be erased from the consciousness of people who are not involved

  5. Nissim, you live in an illusion, I know this because I was where you are, if you think that it is round in all directions - live with it, but know - there is another truth and it drips from the edges

  6. Uri made his "money" and lived in the villa, and as far as I've noticed, you don't hear from Randy anymore, because the last time, and you probably won't believe it, that I got to see him, he "hid under the rug" as they say, with all due respect, even if I'm not alone I met him, and in the next world I'm not sure what it will do for me, a man in his faith will live, and Randy was a big snoozer

  7. Water blowing
    The great Uri Geller didn't bother to compete for the prize either. There is a million dollar prize - not one person even tried to get the prize.
    Your problem is that your mouth fills the entire space of the head and there is no room left for the mind.
    no respect

  8. Don't feed your mind on money you don't have and you don't intend to give, there are those like Uri Geller who did a full "scientific experiment" in short there is and there is. Respectfully blowing water

  9. Gilad, you are wrong.

    Here is an online demonstration of my supernatural spiritual abilities.

    (dim the lights).

    1. Your favorite band is from England!

    (turn off the lights completely).

    2. Your second most favorite band - also from England!

    (drums and trumpets).

    3. Your third favorite band - also from England!

    (Applause, bows everywhere).

    Not the wizard of the cosmos?

    (Cold reading, Alek..).

  10. Hello Gila,
    Let's get to the point, and save unnecessary arguments and bickering.
    Could you set up a controlled experiment in which we will test your unusual abilities to know details about the deceased? I'd love to collaborate, once we've set up something with well-defined success and failure metrics.
    Because without a controlled experiment, and careful statistical evaluations, how will you know if it is indeed unusual abilities or something that is expected at random? After defining the experiment a little more, we can choose a suitable control group and check whether there is indeed a deviation from what is expected by chance.
    We have a strong tendency to remember good deeds and forget wrongdoings, as well as retrospectively interpret vague statements to fit the situation. Without a controlled experiment, this natural and expected possibility cannot be ruled out.

  11. Gila Boim
    You are talking about charlatans. And you're a charlatan.
    I know a good psychiatrist... With all your heart, seek treatment.

    "Real facts"... There is a million dollar reward if you manage to show such facts. Are you ready to try?

  12. Dear Gilad
    Charlatans and fraudsters of all kinds who work on public passions can be found in every field.
    Especially in what is related to the human soul and body, including ointments, various diets, various past surgeries, miracle cures for serious diseases and much more.
    Are you a scientific fact-checking site?
    You will also write articles about fad diets, creams to reduce wrinkles, vitamins and food supplements that work miracles and wonders.

    For some reason you decided to give a stage, and make a whole section for mysticism and its dangers.
    Isn't that a witch hunt for you?

    Why don't you also make sections for diets and their declarations, or anything else, and thus become the "gardeners" of the pseudo-scientific world?

    So please, dear Gilad Daiment and Avi Blizovsky.
    I am not known for trending and unfair articles, and I intended to respond.
    ——————about this article——————-

    I enjoyed reading, and thanks for the knowledge. Unfortunately, contact with the deceased is not made through noise and ringing, but from an inner experience.
    Unfortunately, we have no idea how real the connection is, or whether it is from the person's own mind, or both.
    In the senda's that I conducted, and not just me, psychics that I met, definitely showed an unusual ability to know details about the deceased and not just "cold reading" what you call it, but real facts.
    Being a communicator and medium, this also happened to me in certain situations, and not with noise and ringing, but simply with thoughts that came to my mind, and I just knew and said things, as if in the name of some kind of energy that came to my mind, and I am definitely curious to get to the root of the phenomenon.

    In my opinion, we need to investigate more deeply what is the nature of the relationship between us and the world of souls.
    Best regards


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